Back to School Notes: New 3 R's

Hard to believe, but summer vacations are winding down and it's back to school time. Sadly, many children and their teachers will be returning to schools with unhealthy environments that make it more difficult for students to learn. At Global Green USA, we have been working on greening schools for a decade. In California and New Orleans, we have created showcase green schools that improve student test scores, lower energy bills, and reduce asthma attacks. We call it the 3 R's of green schools: Rise in student performance levels and teacher retention; Reduction in carbon emissions and toxins; and Renewed hope in education and the future. Green schools increase student performance by 20% and teacher retention by 5% -- through better daylighting and acoustics. Attendance is also up due to better indoor air quality, and energy costs are down. Remarkably, we spend more on energy costs for schools in the United States than we do on textbooks and computers combined. Thankfully, green schools reduce utility costs by 20% on average -- and that means a big reduction in carbon emissions as well.

And because green schools make use of formaldehyde-free and low-VOC materials such as tiles, carpeting, insulation, and paint, they’re healthier, too. Oh, and did we mention that greening schools also creates green jobs?

The school in your neighborhood has a chance to become a green school as well: Enter a school to have a chance to win a green school makeover. The winning school will get more than $100,000 invested through direct improvements and technical assistance. And four runner up schools will each receive $2,500 towards their green school renovations. So help us put a green school in every neighborhood in America. Today.

Matt Petersen